With all of the electronic features currently in or planned for cars, it’s clear that automakers need more bandwidth.
Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Divya Krishnamurthy suggests that Ethernet could serve as the backbone to the electronic architecture needed to connect domains and sub networks.
300 million Ethernet ports
The research firm estimates that the total number of Ethernet ports globally will reach 300 million by 2020. The number of nodes or ports is expected to range from more than 100 in luxury cars, 50–60 in mass market segment cars, and less than 10 nodes in entry level cars by 2020.
“Ethernet could be the catalyst for bringing the automotive industry a step closer to connected vehicles,” says Krishnamurthy. “With its capability to simplify the networking architecture, higher uptake rates are expected in the near future.”
Car networks such as LIN, CAN, and FlexRay are not specified to cover the increasing demands for bandwidth and scalability. Bandwidth requirements for in-vehicle applications such as camera-assisted parking with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), lane departure warning systems, collision avoidance systems, and traffic light recognition is over 100Mbps.
Proven IP-based Ethernet technology enables OEMs to use a single-network platform by significantly reducing the connectivity cost and cabling weight. It is scalable and flexible enough to be used in multiple vehicle segments.
“OEMs are now working to bring in Ethernet into their future models that will fulfil all kinds of telematics and infotainment demands of end users,” says Ms. Krishnamurty. “OEMs can benefit from the use of Ethernet to reduce connectivity cost and weight due to lighter cabling leading to better fuel economy.”
BMW and Freescale
BMW, in partnership with Freescale Semiconductor, will be the first OEM to commercialize the Ethernet for a 360-degree camera parking assist system for its X5, later in 2013. The German carmaker is expected to offer the same for other models in the future.
Hyundai and Broadcom, Fiat and Continental
Hyundai is using Broadcom Corporation’s BroadR-Reach Ethernet technology to offer next-gen connected infotainment systems. Fiat Group Automobiles S.P.A has also signed a joint venture with Continental AG for its 500L model to bring in the Continental Infotainment System, which can be used as an advanced multimedia system.
“OEMs such as BMW, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover Limited, General Motors, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., and PSA Peugeot Citroën are also part of the open alliance (One-Pair Ether-Net), a special interest group (SIG) to use Ethernet as a standard solution for infotainment and telematics,” concludes Ms. Krishnamurthy
Frost & Sullivan is working on a study focusing on Market Trends and Technical Developments Surrounding the Ethernet and In-vehicle Connectivity in Europe and North America.